Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dear America - Again

Dear America,

It seems like every time you have an election I write one of these posts - mostly for my own edification - and get a few things off my chest. Usually I write them after the fact and vent my spleen about the terrible decisions you've just made. I wrote one after both of Dubya's wins, and after you decided to hobble Obama by stacking Congress and the Senate against him.

This time it's different.

First, I'm writing ahead of time. Second, I'm not venting this time. This time I'm looking for information and for someone to explain what the hell is happening in your country.

From outside the US border we in the rest of the world peer in and gaze upon all you've accomplished; and you've accomplished great things. You put people onto the moon, you've been running an amazing Mars mission for years, and you've given the world some of the greatest scientific minds of a generation. You've created art, evolved sport (especially the extreme ones), and championed athletics. At your best you tried to give your fellows health care, and your fellow global citizens shelter and comfort. You even recognised same-sex marriage last year. Granted, you were a little late to the party on that one and some folks burned their invitation, but you did it.

Lately though, we've been looking at you with a little less awe, reverence, indifferent interest and with more uh... panicked fear(?) maybe(?). We've been watching you with the same morbid fascination that made us watch - and then rewind - Steve Buscemi getting fed into a wood chipper in Fargo.

I have read many descriptors of the 2016 US election, on the internet. Dumpster fire, train wreck are the two most quoted, and most apt. And what I can't help but wonder is, why you all are putting up with it. To be perfectly clear: When we are not recoiling in horror at the potential outcome of this election, we are laughing our asses off at you.

I fully accept the fact that Hilary Clinton has made some terrible decisions in her life; staying with Bill and the email server debacle chief among them. However, Hilary's transgressions pale in comparison to those of the withering, dysfunctional, Oompa Loompa whom you've placed so tantalisingly close to actual power.

Why is a man who violated US sanctions against Cuba in order to do illegal business there, only 6 points behind on the BBC poll today? Why has that story not stuck to him? How did he shake that off?

Why is Hilary's email server all of a sudden (and again) more important than Donald's treatment of 1/2 the population of the USA?

Why does nearly 1/2 of the voting public support a man who would create an island of your country, and base his domestic policy on the most overtly racist speech we've heard since Alabama in the '60s. Why does nearly 1/2 of your country support a television personality who treats anybody he sees as being "less than him" like crap. Why does nearly 1/2 your country not understand that Donald doesn't speak for them, doesn't see himself as one of them, and doesn't really represent their values, yet will stand behind him and vote for him.

I get it. This is an election where nobody is voting for the person they want. Nobody aside from the most ardent supporters, really believes that either Donald or Hilary should run the country. But, when one of those candidates is an actual terrible person... how is he polling so high?

He steals from his own charity. He doesn't pay his bills. He invited the gun-toting yahoos to assassinate his rival. He advocated for the torture of suspected terrorists families (which is an actual war crime by the way). He literally takes a crap on a gold toilet. He. Is. Not. One. Of. You.

If any other person behaved like this, most normal people wouldn't put up with it. They'd be in jail for fraud, or sexual assault, or crimes against humanity, or uttering threats, or threatening a federal official. They'd have been attacked by jealous husbands. They'd have been sued by the ACLU. But not Trump. This human stain has been hoisted up on a pedestal instead of on his own petard.

And we beyond your borders, we don't understand. We don't understand how - to paraphrase Hilary - you are willing to put a man who can be baited by tweet, so close to the nuclear button.

And so we recoil in horror. And, we laugh... and laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Not with you. At you.